Defenders Summaries 18-24

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Log Entry XVIII: Don't They Have Anything Better to do?

Felix, 4th level fighter, 44 hp, played by Alex
Drew, 3rd level ranger, 25 hp, played by committee
Morgan, 4th level fighter, 22 hp, played by Alan
Balinor, 2nd level fighter, 19 hp, played by Joel
Quentin, 4th level druid, 16 hp, played by Jeremy
Perry, 4th level thief, 13 hp, played by Sean
Cassian, 1st level cleric, 9 hp, played by Katherine


Our party was moving at about a slug's pace due to the total paranoia atmosphere created by the friendly traps. We had to take out the minotaur golem, and the plan was to lure it under the crushing trap and have Perry release it.

Although it took Felix awhile to get the golem to follow him, the plan worked perfectly-- except that we didn't know the golem was immune to the traps, and the crushing stone failed to collapse on it. So it was back to old-fashioned combat; except of course, that only Balinor could harm it.

Thankfully Felix, Drew, and Morgan were able to distract the minotaur enough for Balinor to pummel it for over 50 points of damage, when it finally shattered. In addition, the fighters were bolstered by constant Cure Light Wounds spells from Quentin and Cassian.

We continued through and managed to explore all of the non-secret areas of the dungeon, revealing little but more traps and secret doors. We then decided to check out the secret doors.

We first chose one that by our map we had determined led into another already mapped corridor. Felix inserted the key while everyone else was around the corner. There was a huge THUD and Felix was crushed under the door as it fell on him.

Incredibly, Felix sustained 38 points of damage AND a 6 TIMES WOUND!!! Fortunately, he was saved by four Cure Light Wounds, plus a healing check, though he was forced into unconsciousness, and lost 2 hp and 1 constitution point permanently. This also took Felix out of the adventure.

We continued to explore the other doors, this time using extreme precautions involving our ten foot poles plus string and various apparatus to ensure that no one was anywhere near the door when it opened. Fun stuff happened-- some doors crushed and shattered like the one Felix had encountered, but others were visually more impressive.

Several doors opened to reveal catapults of flaming pitch or something, which just blew up whoever was standing in the door (though the arc was high enough that if Perry opened the door, it would have missed him!). Another couple actually traveled down the corridor at high speed and violently pushed the victim into a pit trap farther down the corridor.

One appeared not to do anything, but in fact as we stood there waiting, a zombielike fanged creature burst around the corner at Drew, missing. Balinor roared, and he and Morgan attacked it. Unfortunately, normal weapons appeared ineffective. Scowling, Balinor attacked, and FUMBLED WITH BOTH WEAPONS...

He damaged himself with Maiden Basher, then his big whiff with Blunt allowed the creature to crack him in the side. Suddenly, Balinor was 1st level. Uggh.

Morgan drew his silver longsword against what was clearly a wight, and Perry and Cassian frantically shot it with silver arrows. The wight beat down Balinor again, dropping him to 0-level and onto the ground bleeding. Fortunately, at that moment, Cassian and Perry finished it off.

A few days later, Balinor had regained level 1, but had lost his second level permanently.

The final door we checked was quite interesting. After having bypassed about 6 traps in the corridor, we made it to the door, which opened into a large room where the mist was FINALLY dispersed. There were two iron pillars-- in fact the whole room was iron. Detect Magic actually worked in this room, revealing that the pillars were magical.

We needed to find out if the key for the secret door was on the other side, and so Drew went onto the other side and waited for the door to open. It opened, to reveal Drew getting clobbered by some sticklike iron golemish being!

Apparently the right column was actually this golem in disguise. It moved incredibly fast and had a large number of appendages, but fortunately could only use two of them against a single opponent.

The party ran about in confusion. Grimly, Balinor moved to block the monster and swung, damaging it with Maiden Basher. He yelled for everyone to get out as quickly as possible, intending to sacrifice his life, and took a vicious hit. The party was fleeing behind him, but Cassian refused to abandon him, instead curing him of damage as fast as it came at him.

Balinor growled and began a slow withdrawal in hopes of reaching the thinner doorway, where it could swing once at him. Fortunately the creature was slow. Balinor continuously crushed it with phenominal attacks, while Cassian continued curing him at an astounding rate. After blasting the creature and never missing on six attacks, it crashed to the ground, just as Cassian used her final cure. Breathing a heavy sigh of relief, the party returned.

Worried about the door shutting during our exploration, we actually broke it by jamming it with a Stoneshape preventing the door from closing. This made it considerably easier to run in and out of the room.

The room still had one pillar remaining. Cautiously we poked at it, but it didn't respond. We then noticed three of the secret panel indentations at different heights.

We used the key and discovered that there were three stone jars, with magic lids, in the three compartments. Assuming the worst, we used an enormous number of precautions, including astrology readings, Slow Poison, Protection from Fire, Protection from Evil, and Bless all cast on Quentin. Quentin Stoneshaped a hole and we scooped out... treasure!!! We did it!

All told:

We got about 8000 gp, scrolls of Slow Poison/Neutralize Poison, Cure Light Wounds x 2, Detect Lie/ Know Alignment, and RAISE DEAD! There were four travelling spellbooks-- two were clearly beginner books (one mage and one illusionist), but the other two had: Levitate/ Shatter/ Web, and Haste/ Monster Summoning I.

There were 7 potions: Healing x 3, Extra-Healing, Flying, Climbing, and Gaseous Form.

There were two permanent magic items:

Some weird lenses that grant strong resistance against, arrghhh, gaze attacks... and a druidic staff! +1 club for druids, and by using charges can manipulate plants and trees!

We kept: Raise Dead scroll, druid staff, lenses, Extra-Healing, Healing x2, Flying, Climbing, Gaseous Form, and scrolls of Cure Light Wounds x2, and Slow/Neutralize Poison. And 5000 gp.

Quite a nice haul! Now at least there's another magic weapon in the party! As for the lenses, we hope to be able to trade them to maybe a government, perhaps for another magic weapon or armor. In the meantime, we now have a ton of one-shot items, and a really nice Raise Dead scroll if we need it! And money.

Finally, it appears that Cassian will undoubtedly get 2nd level, and feasibly but not likely 3rd level. Drew will undoubtedly get 4th level. Balinor will regain 2nd level, and possibly get 3rd level as well.

A resounding success at last!



Log Entry XIX: Creepies and Crawlies and Kittens (oh my!)

Felix, 4th level fighter, 42 hp, played by Alex
Drew, 3rd level ranger, 25 hp, played by committee
Morgan, 4th level fighter, 22 hp, played by Alan
Quentin, 4th level druid, 16 hp, played by Jeremy
Perry, 4th level thief, 13 hp, played by Sean
Balinor, 1st level fighter, 10 hp, played by Joel
Cassian, 1st level cleric, 9 hp, played by Katherine


When we last left the jubilant party, they had just found loads of money and treasure and completed Abbey Isle! We then trained and picked up proficiencies, which took about two months.

Balinor and Cassian both gained 3rd level, and Drew got 4th! Perry is about 500 XP from 5th level, and Quentin is about 1500 XP from 5th level. The others are NOWHERE near.

Balinor and Perry picked up Sprinting, and Morgan learned longbow. Then the hp rolls came-- they were totally absurd.

Cassian had 9 hp at 1st level, and rolled an 8 and a 6 on 2d8, +2 from con, to total 25 hp at 3rd level! Drew rolled an 8 on a d8 as well, (+1 from con), and rose from 25 to 34 hp. Balinor rolled a 10 on a d10 (+4 from con) and rose from 19 to 33 hp!

So the current party state is:


Felix, 4th level fighter, 42 hp
Drew, 4th level ranger, 34 hp
Balinor, 3rd level fighter, 33 hp
Cassian, 3rd level cleric, 25 hp
Morgan, 4th level fighter, 22 hp
Quentin, 4th level druid, 16 hp
Perry, 4th level thief, 13 hp


We returned to Restenford and had a long debate about whether to do the gnolls or the burrow worms. The burrow worms would please Almax, and were underground predators. The gnolls would please the Baron, but they had really long ranges and high speeds, enabling them to shoot us continously from a distance. And they also had a couple of Worgs and a bunch of wolves around. We decided that perhaps the gnolls were a bit much, and we should attempt the burrow worms.

Meanwhile, Perry used his spying ability to see if there were any people in town who might be tipping off the bandits. He noticed that Monty, the rather poor owner of the bait shop, seemed to be paying an inordinate amount of attention to the Baron's troop deployment. Alarmed, Relkin told Perry he could investigate further. Perry later noticed that a master of a logging caravan went into the bait shop, which was odd. Furthermore, he noted that Monty palmed something to the master. Unfortunately, Perry wasn't able to determine what it was, and the caravan left. We decided to put it on hold for a bit and destroy some burrow worms.

We traveled east for a day or so and trekked about the farmlands, staying in barns, and searching for "wormsign." We found the older tunnels, and Drew tracked them around back to the newer trails, and continued looking until we actually noticed a small amount of movement in the grass ahead. Quickly we determined that the worm was only about 50 feet distant and burrowing slowly. Perry noted that he could not hear it even when he stuck his ears to the ground.

We were timid and unenthusiastic about acid sprays hitting us. I should mention that a wise precaution we took was to leave all of our expensive items back in Restenford, ie. the magic hammer, armor, shield, bracers, etc. Quentin cast a _Spike Growth_ in the area in front of us to trip up the worm, should it try to emerge and charge at us. Cassian slung a rock at the area were it was, and bonked it soundly. It stopped moving.

Cassian bonked it again, and a head and pincers rose from the surface and looked around. About a hundred feet away, Cassian, Drew, Morgan, and Perry all fired at it. They all missed. One arrow bonked off its plated head, and it disappeared back down. It then dug deeper, and not wanting to get surprised, we left.

Deciding that was totally ineffective, we came up with another plan. When we spotted the next one, Quentin cast a _Plant Growth_ behind it, causing the tunnel to seal up and block its quick escape route. This would force the worm to burrow if it wanted to escape. The plan was to engage it above, and if it fled, have Felix chase it, and attack from behind, with two _Aid_ spells on him courtesy of Cassian.

We stood near where it was, and bonked it. It rose out of the ground, and Drew let off a point-blank shot while Balinor, Felix, and Morgan closed with it. It was very difficult to hit, but Balinor's hammers were up to the task, and with some help from Morgan and Drew they damaged it greatly. It swung at Morgan with its pincers and missed. Then it let loose an acid spray, hitting Felix full on and doing 20 points of damage. His pack held, but one of his short swords and his shield was ruined, and his clothing was in bad shape. Balinor cracked it twice, and it fell over (about 60 points of damage done to it).

It was about the size of a large horse, and though it doesn't digest its prey, the burrow worm spits acid all over it and drags it down to its lair.

We continued tracking and found another trail a few days later. Again, we went with the same plan, and once again the worm burst through the opening-- though this one was much larger than the first. We smashed it for awhile, and it missed Morgan again. Suddenly Morgan inflicted a wound... and it fled down the tunnel, running straight into the plant growth. As planned, Felix charged after it, but it hit with a horrendous barrage of acid, destroying his armor, shield, and helmet. With a yelp he came running back, and Balinor hopped down after it. Cassian through a _Light_ spell and Balinor was able to attack. He damaged it further, but Bessie's handle flew off and it grabbed him with its mandibles and started doing acid damage to him, pinning both of his arms down. He yelled for help, and Morgan came running down. Morgan swung at it, and it dropped Balinor, intending to kill Morgan. Of course, it missed. From below, the prone Balinor smashed its noticeably softer underbelly, and it died.

Balinor realized that he had not considered gravity. The worm dropped on him, and scrambled desperately to get out of the way, but was smooshed by the body, taking additional damage and saying "ow." Morgan pulled him out.

We headed back to town and repaired the armor and replaced Felix's collapsing equipment, as well as renotching Bessie's new handle, then set out again.

Strolling casually through the farmlands, we looked up and saw a nine foot tall blue humanoid munching on something, leaning casually against a tree, human swords tucked around its belt. Just a SINGLE blue ogre. Heh.

With a cry of "For Darellon and Celeste!", whoever they are, we charged. The ogre dropped the kitten's head it was munching on in shock, with a ring of steel drew out two huge bastard swords. Drew shot and missed, while the party sprinted at it.

The ogre could have been quite dangerous... except that it chose to swing at Morgan. Naturally, it missed twice and we reached it. Balinor missed twice, Morgan missed, but Felix smashed it, Perry double backstabbed it, and Drew shot it for maximum damage through the head with point-blank ranger cool shot.

It died.

(Around 50 points of damage, too)

It had 45 gp, a silver belt, two bastard swords, a broadsword, and a chain. A _Detect Magic_ revealed that the chain was magical, and the fighters couldn't help but notice that the bastard sword was pretty nice.

We continued traveling around, and found the third burrow worm. As before it rose up, and this time it caught Felix and dragged him down with it. Balinor charged after and smacked it from behind. Felix tried to free himself when it belched acid at him... destroying everything-- his two swords, armor and helmet, though his clothes and the shield made it. In trouble, he raised his shield defensively, but Balinor managed to destroy it on the next hit.

We also found the lair of the things-- a juncture of several very old tunnels, that went noticeably deeper. We will return there and hopefully determine what is down there-- hopefully some of the gear of the various bandits and travelers they have eaten.

But first we returned to Restenford. Relkin, the legal commander who does our salvage tax, asked us if we'd killed a hill giant. He explained the belt was a sign of a hill giant chieftain or something, and he valued it at, oh, 3-5... thousand gold pieces!

Oh yeah, and the bastard sword was rated by Gaston as a +1/+1 quality weapon.

And the chain, identified by Peltar, gives the wearer additional ability to block with his sword! Morgan with his single weapon combat style seems the logical choice-- if only it worked with hammers...

So we paid the bastard sword as salvage tax plus credit, and hopefully the Baron will like that weapon (since he wields it).

Now to excavate a burrow worm's lair, and then we have to decide what to do next. Perry has suggested the demon worshipper problem in Trun.

It is likely that Perry will train, and possible but unlikely that Quentin will as a result of the adventure. Either way, we're all quite pleased at our progress into the lower mid-levels!



Log Entry XX: Return of the Halflings

Felix, 4th level fighter, 42 hp, played by Alex
Drew, 4th level ranger, 34 hp, played by committee
Balinor, 3rd level fighter, 33 hp, played by Joel
Cassian, 3rd level cleric of Phaulkon, 25 hp, played by Katherine
Morgan, 4th level fighter, 22 hp, played by Alan
Quentin, 4th level druid, 16 hp, played by Jeremy
Perry, 5th level thief, 16 hp, played by Sean

AND RETURNING ONCE AGAIN (What¹re the odds?):

Hecht, cleric of the halfling god Brandebaris, played by Mark
Auburn, 1st level cleric of the halfling god Sheila /1st level fighter, 11 hp, played by Kyle
Kerr, 1st level druid, 7 hp, played by Mark


The party checked around the lair of the burrow worms for a few days just to make sure there were no more worms left. We entered the lair with Felix in the lead, and discovered a room of dead husks. There was also a gem and 2 vials of Nevronian holy water.

We dragged four husks back to Restenford, paid one in salvage tax(?!), and commissioned the always friendly armorer to turn them into great helms (?!). Felix, Balinor, and Drew are decked out in the bug head helmets (pincers still intact) when FAR away from civilization, such as it is on Lendore.

Perry trained to 5th level, and gained 3 hp to stand at 16 hp.

A letter and a mage arrived in Restenford while Perry trained, named Donald Collins. Colin, the elven mage/thief whose disastrous adventure had nearly destroyed his hearing, had found someone for us.

Donald is a human coastlander, quite tall, but in most assessments, a "geek." Fresh out of Wicker's training school, he was able to spend some of the money we gave him on two first level spells, Detect Magic and Identify. He also revealed that he has the Light spell. He also has at least two others, one of which must be Read Magic. He said he didn't have any combat spells, and would be more useful if the party acquired some. We traded the lenses to Peltar for the dagger+1 and two spells, Sleep and something else I don't remember.

It should be noted that Donald, like Colin now, is almost completely deaf. He's always around to make an embarrassing remark in a very loud voice!

Colin added that he had absolutely no idea why Donald would want to go to Lendore, but he was interested in "some excitement." Oh boy. He's getting it.

We accepted him and helped him equip fully, providing him with ink and other necessities.

A month later, the Baron invited us to meet with him. He had a mission that he thought we might be interested in.

For those of you who don't know Hafney Hill, it is a lovely little place near Key Ferry that has claimed the lives of countless adventurers. The place was supposed to be haunted, and a halfling cleric of the god of adventure, named Hecht, led a group of adventurers called Sam and Friends to clean it out in 2173. They failed miserably, and lost everyone but Hecht, who escaped via a Sanctuary spell. They were all taken down by startlingly good bowshots from some hostile halflings in the ruined keep. In addition, one of the companions, Larry surrendered and was captured. Sam managed to kill one with a Command spell to jump to his death, but was shot to death moments later. There were two left that Hecht had seen.

A while later, in 2173, Hecht and Kerr, a druid, led a new expedition to rescue Larry and finish the job. Unfortunately they ended up at the wrong hill, and stumbled on a circle of demon worshippers, and a few of their buddy demons. Over half the party was lost, but the remainder killed the witch and several of the weird demon things. The six survivors split up the treasure-- Arutha the elven cleric of Nevron obtained the only permanent magic item, a silver necklace that gives a +1 bonus to saves. Several potions and the loot were distributed as well. Arutha went off to the Church in Benct, Daryl and his companion went off their own way, and Hecht, Kerr, and Auburn, a halfling cleric of Sheila, went off to get revenge, and help.

It appears, in fact, that the ghost stories are entirely false concoctions to scare away people, and that the effects were created by extremely mobile halflings leaping from tower to tower somehow.

They arrived in Restenford, and the Baron requested our help. We agreed to finish the job, and marched out to the hill. On the way, we ran into another of our old friends. The burrow worm leaped up straight in front of Balinor. In a move wrought of skill, Balinor managed to get captured by it and beat it incessantly from close up, thereby preventing it from spraying acid all over our nice equipment.

This was, of course, entirely deliberate.

The party hammered at it for awhile, and it dragged Balinor underground. Unfortunately, without the Plant Growth wall, the creature could escape. After Balinor had wounded it and nearly beaten it senseless, and with Felix in hot pursuit, the creature dropped him and fled.

We reached the site of Hafney Hill after a brief stopover in Trun a few days later. The party decided that since reckless attacking had led to their death previously, this adventuring party would try to lure them out to eliminate as many halflings as possible. An astrology revealed that the number 9 was important, and we assumed this meant there were nine halflings.

We set up a false campsite and hid in the bushes nearby, hoping to draw their attention and capture them. Unfortunately, though we noticed no observation during the night, we found tracks of a halfling in the morning. Irritated, we tried again the next night, this time with Perry's snares littering the area.

Sure enough, in the middle of the night we heard the wire snap, and a moaning sound began. Presumably it was the halfling trying to scare us. Balinor and Felix charged with a wild yell, and a hopeful Entangle was thrown in the general direction by Kerr.

It missed, and the two charging fighters barely missed getting caught. Drew tracked through the woods helped by a Light spell, and we found that the tracks were indeed halfling sized and led back into the keep. The moaning continued but got more and more distant until finally it vanished.

In addition, the previous party had noted a secret door in the hillside, presumed to be a back exit. We noted the location and waited for the rain to hit.

In the morning, we awoke to a large and thunderous storm. We approached the ruins, and Quentin cast _Call Lightning_ and held it as we walked. Cassian cast a _Dust Devil_, which is much more powerful for Phaulkonians. We noted that the real lightning would strike one of the towers much more often than the others, and then noticed the metal wires running from tower to tower. Either they are to ground the lightning, or allow rapid halfling transport from tower to tower.

Suddenly, the bell in the far tower began to ring. Cassian sent the Dust Devil that way, and we advanced cautiously. We reached the tower and found the wooden door locked. Finding it untrapped but locked, Felix crashed through it.

And suddenly an arrow went cleanly through his shoulder, doing 28 points of damage! He fell back in shock.

Cassian sent the dust devil in.

We heard a scream and a thump, and found a dead halfling on the floor, presumably pushed off by the dust devil. He was covered with wires and pulleys and other rope systems.

Dragging the body in tow, we advanced to the other tower, which the lightning struck more often. With a crowbar this time, we opened the door and waited. Then we looked in quickly, and could hear gears but not see them. Cassian sent the dust devil in. Then we heard a noise above us. Suspecting the halflings were fleeing the dust devil along the wires, we waited a moment.

Then Quentin blasted the far tower with lightning.

The results were spectacular. We ran to the tower to find three dead halflings, all badly burned. Cassian sent the dust devil down into the open basement, where one of the halflings lay. We hauled it out with a grappling hook, and sent the dust devil down. A moment later, Cassian sensed it had been destroyed.

Figuring the halflings might try to escape through the "back door," we ran to the secret door. Since Felix was injured, Balinor used the crowbar to open the door. Suddenly a roughly six foot tall shadow flew out of the door and ran straight at Balinor.

The party sprung into action, attacking with all its silver weapons. Balinor clocked it with Maiden Basher as well. Fortunately, the creature missed Balinor, and it was taken down after failing to hit Morgan (surprise). In fact, it critically fumbled and allowed a free attack.

Drew decided that the monster was a wraith or a spectre, though he had never heard of spectres being hit by silver weapons. So we assumed it was a wraith. That means level draining.

We doused the body with two vials of holy water, which sizzled on contact. We put it outside, and removed a magic ring from its finger. It appeared to be the collapsed body of a normal Coastlander, turned into a hideous monster by some demonic ritual. We blasted it.

We peeked inside, and found a 4' diameter corridor leading off into nothingness. In addition there were two wires running along the sides. One had clearly been triggered-- though the target was somewhere down the hall. It pointed roughly toward the tower we had just left, about 1500 feet away.

It was decided to split the party. Balinor leading, followed by Felix, Cassian, Perry, and one other person, would head into the tunnel and follow it to it's end, Perry spot-checking as appropriate.

About five minutes into the tunnel, another much smaller wraith appeared and tried to kill Balinor. Cassian attempted to turn it, but failed. The only person who could fight it in the close quarters was the victim, and Balinor smashed it with both hammers. The silver one appeared to inflict half damage, but could affect it. Unfortunately, it actually managed to hit him on its next swing, and drained a level.

It was getting old.

The now 2nd level Balinor totally bashed it into the ground on his next attack routine.

Hecht immediately recognized the corpse after it collapsed-- it was Larry.

We splashed Larry with holy water and continued. We finally came to a larger open room about 15 feet high. There was a "vault" on the right side, which the wire that had been pulled was connected to. Apparently the halflings had opened this to mess up pursuit. They succeeded.

We continued into the tunnel and discovered a room with a dozen halfling sized beds, 9 of which had been recently occupied. Also, there were a bunch of glowing Pope heads (Nevronian) lit by Continual Light just sitting there at even intervals. Finally there were boxes. We then shouted up, and realized that we had reached the other half of the party. They clambered down and we realized that to our annoyance there were still 4 halflings on the loose.

We checked out the vault as well, and discovered a multiple locked chest area. We opened the chests and found quite a bit of money. In the boxes in the main room were random items of value, clearly ripped off of caravans.

What to do next? It's unclear. Hopefully the halflings won't find us-- or we'll be able to kill them. Now to get the treasure back to Restenford.

The Fall of Hafney Hill!


(Larry had actually joined the halflings, but when they recognized Hecht they locked him the prison cells "just in case." In the escape they released the wraith but did not release Larry, who was trapped and munched. Then he rose as a wraith himself.)

Log Entry XXI: What the &*@#! do they have under there?

Felix, 4th level fighter, 42 hp, played by Alex
Drew, 4th level ranger, 34 hp, played by committee
Balinor, 3rd level fighter, 33 hp, played by Joel
Cassian, 3rd level cleric, 25 hp, played by Katherine
Morgan, 4th level fighter, 22 hp, played by Alan
Quentin, 4th level druid, 16 hp, played by Jeremy
Perry, 5th level thief, 16 hp, played by Sean
Donald, 1st level mage, 7 hp, NPC

Also joining us:

Hecht, cleric of the halfling god Brandebaris, played by Mark
Auburn, 1st level cleric of the halfling god Sheila /1st level fighter, 11 hp, played by Kyle
Kerr, 1st level druid, 7 hp, played by Mark


Following the death of the second wraith and reuniting of the party in the halflings' bedroom, we decided to search for secret doors, and none were found. The next day, when Balinor had regained his level, we decided to explore the wraith corridor.

Noting that the seals had been broken on the door, we entered with Perry leading, searching for traps, and Felix and Balinor close behind.

The corridor had all sorts of niches with skulls and stuff in the walls. After about 60' we descended down a spiral staircase into a room with 4 other exits. Perry could faintly hear a creaking noise, and the sounds of running water. We noted the demonic sigil on the floor and decided to peek down the passages. The first one on the near right had a line of skulls, each with glowing red points for eyes which seemed to be staring at us, and vanishing off down the corridor.

This was vaguely disturbing.

The next corridor had another staircase leading down.

The far left corridor had a well decorated archway and another stairs across the room. We approached the altar, and Auburn was able to read the runes (written in Demon!). It welcomed all properly fearful demon worshippers to the lesser temple, and warned of death for all those who did not fear them properly. Perry listened, and we could hear the faint sounds of screams from down the corridor.

VERY alarming.

The last corridor was well built and unlike the rest of the more natural looking cave. Realizing that perhaps we were out of our league, we decided to head back.

That's when we heard the footsteps coming down the stairs we came from.

Balinor and Felix were poised at the doorway waiting for the thing to emerge. We could see a set of glowing dots on some shadowy figure walking slowly down. The creature boomed suddenly, "Who are you who descecrate this temple?"

We didn't reply, but we did gulp.

Finally, Perry said, "We simply want to leave. We have not desecrated the temple!"

The creature replied, "Pay the price for trespassing."

We backed away from the doorway and the creature emerged into the room. It was a skeleton with a bastard sword and short sword. It walked between us toward the demonic sigil. We took advantage of the opening to start fleeing up the stairs, Morgan and Perry first.

The creature reached the sigil when barely half the party had left the room (the corridor only had room for single file), when suddenly the clerics all recognized the area as consecrated evil ground, and that their turning abilities were suppressed somewhat. Then skeleton thing raised its hands and the swords suddenly lit in flame. It then whirled and charged Balinor and Felix, who were trying to protect everyone.

Uh oh.

Cassian began turning, while Balinor and Felix turned to fight it. It swung viciously at Balinor, cutting him with both weapons and doing 20 points of damage, lighting him on fire. Balinor tried to roll out the fire, which was slowly doing damage.

At that moment, Morgan reached the top of the stairs and noticed that the door had been locked and bolted from this side. He crashed into the door, but couldn't knock it down. He cried out for a strong helper.

Felix swung back with the magic dagger and hit, but it was not clear whether it was actually damaged.

Auburn hurled a vial of holy water, connecting and splashing it, and it roared though no apparent damage was done. At the same time, Cassian managed to ward it off with her turn, since it suddenly stopped and backed up. It said, "Leave this place!"

We obeyed quickly, backpedaling. Balinor had quenched the fire and took up position behind Felix. Auburn dashed up to help Morgan get the door open. On the third try, Morgan crashed through with Perry, and people started rushing out. Unfortunately, we were only half out when the creature said, "That is enough time." It came up after us, and Felix stopped to delay it.

It slashed viciously, doing 41 points of damage and two single wounds (thanks to the Aid spell preventing the double wound), and lit him on fire. While the creature was recovering, he and Balinor got through the door and we slammed it shut, Kerr retracing the runes. Felix was healed in time, and we breathed a sigh of relief. Perry listened, but could hear nothing.

Perhaps we shouldn't have gone that way...

Deciding that was plenty, and that Hafney Hill was clearly not entirely mundane (everyone needs an evil temple in the basement), we packed up some of the valuables and went to the Trun area to purchase a wagon and oxen. We were able to carry out 30,000 coin weights of the 40,000, leaving mainly furniture and copper pieces behind.

By the way, the glowing Pope of Nevron heads were stacked in front of the evil door just in case.

We Stoneshaped the iron grid door shut, and set Fire Traps on both entrances. Quentin then Stoneshaped the other entrance shut. We returned a few days later and retrieved the treasure in the wagon and began the trip back to Restenford. Of course, while we were still on Hafney Hill, the half of the party transferring the treasure to the wagon got jumped by a spider, who Quentin convinced to go away.

Incidentally, there were three magic items found-- the magic ring on the wraith, a Captain's Jacket (Captain Ketone's!), and a magic plate armor.

We later discovered that the weather predicting property of Ketone's jacket was usable by anyone with meteorology skills, such as all captains, and Phaulkonian clerics of at least third level, like Cassian.

On the way back to Restenford, several things happened. First we encountered a group of five archers up the road, who scattered into the forest when we spotted them. Nothing happened, and we moved on.

Then we saw a giant (20' long) snake lying across the road, and Quentin convinced it to move so we could get past.

Then two gnolls appeared in front of us and demanded a 30 gp toll since they had killed some bombardier beetles. We decided that rather than fighting, the 30 gp wasn't terribly important and paid them off grudgingly.

Then the hurricane hit.

We got the sense something was terribly wrong, and took cover on a hill, the wagons and oxen separate from the main party with Felix and Cassian (both are teamsters) to help control them. The main party encountered another group of six adventurers hiding up there as well and took cover with them.

The storm was hideous and lasted several days, but miraculously Felix and Cassian were able to keep the animals from bolting. Unforunately, the other party was using a tarp for cover, which had metal posts. This made them a target for lightning strikes, and one of them took 60 points of damage and was incinerated suddenly! This frightened them.

When the storm blew over, Quentin helped bury the scorched man, and we continued on uneventfully to Restenford. There we paid salvage tax and have some issues to discuss.

Hecht can actually train, and I believe Auburn can as well, but neither can do it on Lendore very easily. Cassian trained to 4th level, gained 2 hp to stand at 27, and Quentin trained to 5th level, gaining 4 hp to stand at 20. Balinor missed 4th level by 200 XP...

We had the items, including the captain's jacket, identified in Barnacus-- the jacket also allows the user to know the tides and protects from the effects of normal weather. The primary ability is the weather detection though. It seems much more geared toward a captain than anything else-- a land-lubber is wasting the item.

The ring is a ring+1.

The plate armor was, unfortunately, a hideous cursed item. It looks cool, but when you get struck in combat, all enemies are attracted to attacking you for a round afterward, and do extra damage, and then the armor falls apart. Nuts.

Treasure splitting: this must be discussed. My suggestions:

The Captain's Jacket should be returned to the other party. The ring +1 would be a good item for the Defenders.

The monetary split is interesting-- we have a LOT of money tied up in goods-- an idea is to give it to the Baron and have him sell it and feed us a large percentage, rather than trying to sell it ourselves, since we don't even know what anything is worth.

The Defenders have hoped to claim quite a bit of the furniture for the house. Furthermore, the main bulk of cloth was ruined in the storm, but the 5 bolts of cloth survived and the Phaulkonian church was interested in about 2100 gp worth of stuff. Of course, we can't sell it for that much, so perhaps giving them 1000 gp worth as a donation will work. The druids were only interested in some of the silverware, which totaled to about 200 gp. So we can donate that, and then give more once we get money from the Baron.

In addition, the actual monetary treasure has to be split. Nearly 1000 gp was spent getting the wagon and oxen, but these can be resold to recover a lot of the loss. So there is some cash.

If anyone is interested in the proposed option of having the other party remain in Restenford and having them do the easier missions, the Defenders are quite interested in that arrangement. Of course we can provide financial help there. There's lots of negotiating to do.

In any case, some cash will certainly need to be transferred so Hecht and Auburn can train, which can be done.

Furthermore, while in Barnacus IDing items, we informed the Hand of Fate (Church of Nevron) about the Pope heads and hideous temple down below Hafney Hill. Perhaps an option for the future would be to accompany them, if they want us, to clear the place. Just a thought...

A mainly successful conclusion!



Log Entry XXII: Political Treachery

Felix, 4th level fighter, 42 hp, played by Alex
Drew, 4th level ranger, 34 hp, played by committee
Balinor, 3rd level fighter, 33 hp, played by Joel
Cassian, 4th level cleric, 27 hp, played by Katherine
Morgan, 4th level fighter, 22 hp, played by Alan
Quentin, 5th level druid, 20 hp, played by Jeremy
Perry, 5th level thief, 16 hp, played by Sean
Donald, 1st level mage, 7 hp, NPC


We had last left the Defenders enjoying the spoils of a successful mission to Hafney Hill. Treasure division was settled as follows (if Mark or Kyle have strong objections please voice them and I suspect we can probably change some stuff):

Since it was fairly obvious (Mark, if you disagree please tell us) that Hecht and Kerr would not settle down in Restenford, that left Auburn to form a party, and since that was an uncertain proposition, we thought it was best just to give the Lightning a share and let them decide on their own.

We made this deal: The Baron would give us approximately 11000 gp as an "allowance" of 3000 gp per year for three years, plus the extra in the fourth year. We withdrew our first years' allowance and gave it to the Lightning. So the split is as follows:

Lightning receive 3000 gp, Captain's Jacket. The Defenders cover the cost of the Identifies on the three items, and the salvage tax. We're certainly willing to help you trade the Captain's Jacket, either with the Phaulkonian Church (who is probably quite interested) or the Petethalian navy. The split of that treasure is up to Kerr, Auburn, and Hecht (who still have to train).

That resolved, we trained Cassian and Quentin. Cassian picked up falconry and a hawk, who was not fully trained when the events in the rest of the adventure occurred. This was done in January/February 2175. In addition, Quentin picked up sling and direction sense.

While Perry and the others helped rebuild Restenford after the terrible storm hit (on our way back from Hafney Hill), Perry also kept an eye on the suspicious bait shop owner, who had been spotted passing some kind of note to a caravan master before we went to do the burrow worms (late 2174).

While in Barnacus, Felix and Balinor got items IDed, and checked with the Church of Nevron to see if the Hand of Fate had returned and was interested in doing the Temple mission. They had not yet come back from the escort of the Leviathan dagger to the bishop in Cromwell. The earliest they could return is the 15th of March, when the ports reopen.

In the middle of February, a few days before Balinor and Felix returned, Perry spotted another exchange between the bait shop owner and the caravan master. He saw a note passed to the master, who put it in his pocket. Sensing his moment had arrived, Perry moved stealthily and attempted to pickpocket the note.

His attempt was a dramatic failure (95), and one guard slashed at him with a broadsword, injuring him. Perry went for the gusto and grabbed the entire pouch and turned to run. The other guard slashed him again, nearly bringing Perry down. But Perry sprinted away toward a guard. He told the guard to talk to Relkin and arrest him before he was killed. He handed the guard (Colemac was his name, of note for our later adventure) the pouch and said this was what he stole. The guard said, "Hey, here's your stuff back!" and returned it to the caravan master.


VERY FORTUNATELY, Perry had already pulled note out of the pouch and hidden it on his person. He was arrested and hauled off. While in his cell, Perry discovered that the note was a heavily coded message. Perry managed a phenomenal Read Languages (09), and actually deciphered the first level of the code. Relkin explained that in order to maintain appearances they would have to keep Perry in jail for a month.

Perry agreed. The note was given to Peltar (the Baron's wizard) and his students to attempt to decipher it. An invisible guard was left to observe the bait shop owner in the following weeks. Balinor and Felix arrived and we all settled down to wait.

Peltar had nearly deciphered the second level of the code, and suspected there were three of them by February 24th.

Then the &*#! hit the fan.

On the evening of February 24th, a late season storm passed over Restenford and let up around midnight. Baron Grellus got up to get a snack (most likely cheese) around 11 PM. He went into the kitchen and turned on the light, scaring away some mice who had gathered there.

At 4 AM in the morning, the Baroness awoke to find her husband had not returned to bed. Suspecting something had come up, she asked the guard Carlton what was going on. Carlton replied that nothing was going on, and Baroness went down to the kitchen.

There was a huge bloodstain, and spices had been knocked over everywhere. The Baron was nowhere to be found.

The alert went up, and immediately Peltar and Almax the druid were contacted. Dogs were brought in to track, but they immediately became ill at the large volume of spices that had been meticulously spread about the kitchen. Furthermore, a cleaver was missing from the rack. Finally, three items were found tucked away that had clearly not come from the castle. They were: a broken golden string, a gem that had clearly been mounted on something, and a red button with a design on it.

At 6 AM, Morgan was rudely awakened by the sounds of Gelpus (captain of the guard) and Peltar (sober for the first time we had ever seen him), dragging Perry along behind. The Defenders were briefed on the situation. Peltar suspected it was either a political move, a prelude to an attack by a bandit army, or a personal job.

Somehow, someone had gotten into the castle without making any noise or triggering the numerous magical alarms, fought a melee with the Baron without any noise, and dragged him out without being noticed (the Baron is a big guy). This seemed to indicate a Silence spell or effect. The mice in the kitchen mentioned that they had seen the Baron light the lantern and had scampered away. The assailant would have had to have been quite strong. In addition, he would either need to pass through walls, or use a diminuition effect to slip in through some barred windows.

Were these items left by the Baron, or the assailant? What were they used for?

Four people had entered the town through the west gate (to Garroten and Barnacus) that night. At 7 PM the innkeeper of an inn in Garroten, named (forgot), entered and was seen by the distiller purchasing some expensive wine. At 8 PM a minstrel entered and was seen by Falco's tavern for about a half hour. At 9 PM, a priest of Osbrum (lawful neutral god of water travel) entered. None of them were seen after that. In addition, Gap the dwarf entered town at 10 PM (he's the awesome dart specialist at Falco's). Gap was at Falco's in the morning.

The golden wire could very easily have been a snapped string from the minstrel's lute (which had golden strings), the gem could easily have come from the holy symbol of the priest of Osbrum (which traditionally have gems on them), and the button could matched the buttons on the jacket of the innkeeper. The coincidence was astounding.

Something very odd was going on. The castle was sealed up immediately. The only person who is totally exempt from suspicion in the assassination is, ironically, the bait shop owner. During the morning hours it was noted by the invisible guard that the owner started writing another of the encrypted notes. The guard learned quite a bit from watching it, and this will greatly accelerate Peltar's efforts. The owner was then questioned before he could finish, and Peltar was quite certain that although the man clearly was involved, he was caught totally by surprise that the Baron was missing. Perhaps Perry accelerated the timetable...

A scrying was attempted on the Baron, but it failed. The Baron is likely in an unscryable area. Whether he is alive or not is unclear.

Unfortunately, the Restenford government does not have quick access to a Commune (apparently the Phaulkonian leader cannot cast it). A house-to-house search was done, but nothing was uncovered.

The assassin faces several problems. If the Baron is not found in 10 days, he will be unraisable anyway. But the ports have not opened yet, so the Baron is still on the island (forget Teleport-- if that can be done than we can do nothing to save the Baron). The scyring was done quite quickly, around 4 AM, giving the assassin only five hours to get the Baron/ body to a scry-proof room. One thought was that the body could have been tossed to fungus beetles that could digest it. Almax's son, also a druid, is checking that possibility out. Frankly, I don't think there are any fungus beetles that close to Restenford.

Almax sent out a halt on all Rest Eternal spells from druids, so he can't be made unraisable that way.

One suspicion that came to the forefront is that this is a move by the Duke of Kroten (Benct). The two leaders hate each other. It could also be a prelude to an attack by bandits or other forces.

Peltar is unwilling to leave Restenford, since it would compromise the defenses. The first choice for help would be the Hand of Fate, but they are not on Lendore. So it's up to the Restenford Defenders to attempt to recover the body in 10 days. "At least we'll have tried," said Gelpus. The Baroness and the family are currently secure in the castle.

The Defenders decided that either Garroten or Benct would be a logical place to go. There is a chapel to Osbrum in Benct, and that is where the Duke of Kroten is. There is known to be a large assassin's guild in Barnacus, but the smaller Garroten guild is known as much better quality. Furthermore, the innkeeper was definitely from Garroten. And there is a full Church to Osbrum in Garroten.

Is the minstrel in fact a bard? If so, he is practically above suspicion. We strongly doubt the Baron did anything bad enough to anger the bardic organization.

So we were given fast horses by Relkin, and set off around 1 PM on the 25th. Riding like mad, we made the ever lovely Dead Forest by nightfall (locusts, spiders, skeletons-- we went in there in Adventure #2!).

In fact, the whole trip brought back memories. The night went uneventfully, and we traveled frantically the next day.

Drew managed to stop us from being surprised by the three giant snakes that emerged from the side. Using two Speak with Animal spells, Quentin managed to convince them to leave. They REALLY wanted the horses, and were very disappointed.

At around noon, we ran into the bandit ambush.

About twenty arrows were shot at us (short bow). Two horses dropped dead, and a third staggered and fell over. Morgan managed to leap clear, and Cassian and Felix managed to sustain a single point of damage but avoided being pinned.

Quentin raised the druidic staff and let fly an Entangle, catching seven of them instantly!

"Turn!!!" came the yell, and they broke and ran without even firing again, abandoning the seven trapped men yelling for help. Balinor and Felix really wanted to kill them, but since time was of the essence, we instead yelled, "We are on important business. Since we are in a hurry we will not kill you. DO NOT BOTHER US AGAIN."


We moved on, but unfortunately at only half the speed, since we had lost three of seven horses. We reached Garroten around nightfall.

We spoke with the local druid, named Martin. Word had not yet reached him that the Baron was missing, though he did know about the freeze on Rest Eternal. He indicated that he certainly knew all three people we described.

The innkeeper is a man who prefers to remain neutral, and does go to Restenford for wine on occasion.

The minstrel is in fact a bard named Balmoro. He is quite powerful and runs the theater in Garroten.

The priest of Osbrum is in fact Harper, the HIGH PRIEST OF OSBRUM in the New World. He is totally insane. We have heard rumors that he will occasionally Raise someone for free. He once wanted a sandwich, and the person said he would get it for him soon. Harper cast a Quest spell (5th level!) that if he didn't get the sandwich in four hours, the man would slowly die.


We trekked down to the theater, and discovered that a person had already started, and the bard would unavailable until the next day.

We then stopped by the inn. The patrons inside included three farmers, an ugly armed man, a handsome man running the card games (Grison actually gambled with him once), a gnome, and one other person I can't remember.

The innkeeper was there as well. This was not particularly surprising by this time. We went to talk with him. He took us to a quiet corner of the common room, and we asked him if he knew what was going on. He knew about the Baron's disappearance, and was concerned by the apparent attempt to impersonate him. Apparently he had lost a button about a week before from his jacket. He said he hadn't gone to Restenford.

In a bizarre turn, Quentin secretly noted that he had felt like a (psionic?) probe had gone through his mind and perhaps everyone's. He thought it was the innkeeper, but wasn't sure.

We got two rooms for the night, and posted watches, but nothing happened.

In the morning (of the 27th), Cassian spoke with the ugly guy over breakfast. He was a captain, and had a gruff demeanor. Cassian continued cheerfully asking him about his travels, and actually got him to admit he tranported cargo. There were a whole bunch of subtle hints, but we think he is actually the choice of assassins everywhere for transporting a body.

Then we went to speak with the bard. Balmoro said he had in fact a student/stage hand had snapped a string about a week earlier while using his lute. He said that he finds it highly likely the assassin's guild knows his feelings about them (hatred), and although they probably can't kill him, they can kill everyone he knows. So he remains cautiously discovering little bits of informtaion in the hopes of eventually discovering some of the "big fry." He was very disturbed that someone was impersonating him, but is unwilling to take action unless we come to him with a clear plan. He revealed that someone at the inn belongs to the guild.

Balmoro also mentioned that the best time to speak with the high priest of Osbrum is early in the day, before "he decides to do something."

We ended there.

Whew! I think the Defenders are entering a political phase as well. But if we can pull this off...


Log Entry XXIII: Seafood Dinner

Felix, 4th level fighter, 42 hp, played by Alex
Drew, 4th level ranger, 34 hp, played by Jack
Balinor, 3rd level fighter, 33 hp, played by Joel
Cassian, 4th level cleric, 27 hp, played by Katherine
Morgan, 4th level fighter, 22 hp, played by Alan
Quentin, 5th level druid, 20 hp, played by Jeremy
Perry, 5th level thief, 16 hp, played by Sean
Donald, 1st level mage, 7 hp, NPC


A quick reminder: the three framed people were:

Abram, innkeeper of the "House of Abram."
Balmoro, powerful bard who runs a theatre in Garroten.
Harper, crazy high priest of Osprem, god of water travel.

The Baron was kidnapped/murdered on the night of February 24th. We set off for Garroten on the 25th, and arrived on the 26th in the evening. We begin with the events of the morning of the 27th of February.

February 27th-- Having concluded a rather neutral meeting with Balmoro the bard, our unhappy-go-lucky party set up an appointment to meet with Harper, high priest of Osprem (LN god of water travel). He is supposed to be insane, but we knew we had to talk to him at some point and clear this mess up.

First we received a communication from Almax the druid through Martin, the local druid in Garroten. For those who don't know, we are capable of sending reasonable length messages once per day at noon, and receiving the previous day's response at about the same time.

Almax is convinced that the Anarchists were not involved in the plot.

We informed them that we would be seeking a Commune spell from Harper, which was really our only chance if the Baron was dead and time was running out. Barnacus was simply too far away to make it there and back in time.

Furthermore, the Lord Mayor of Garroten had conscripted all fast horses and stabled them to be kept on reserve due to the increased bandit activity between Restenford and Garroten (which, if you'll recall, we experienced firsthand). Whether there is a connection...

Cassian spent a few hours playing cards (she is a former teamster) with some of the people who frequent the inn. There was a gnome, who introduced himself but said little, and looked uncomfortable playing with Cassian. Apparently he does some handiwork around the castle. There was also a human dog trainer who liked to hunt. The card dealer was a human named Willfong. Grison played cards with him the first time we were here. In addition, Captain Bazmar, the unsubtle guy Cassian spoke with the day before, the body person, tipped his cup at her.

Since no one seemed willing to give us the big information we needed (there is a huge atmosphere of paranoia when referring to the Garroten assassin's guild), we waited to speak to Harper.

Harper turned out to be an old jolly man, looking suspiciously like Santa Claus-- flowing beard, etc. He was quite charming, but also quite clearly senile and a bit nuts. After a few vague sentences had destroyed any hope of proper communication, Harper was firmly convinced that someone had converted the Baron to Osprem and he had gone on vacation. When told the Baron was missing, he started looking through his desk drawers.

When we asked for a Commune, he spun four wheels, labeled 0-9, and said, "8192 gold pieces!"

Since we had only about 1000 gp, this was a tad much, and we didn't really think he was reliable. Then he invited us to go crab hunting-- there are these giant crabs (about 30 hp) that hide in the sand and try to kill you, but they're very tasty.

Felix and Perry politely declined. Desperately trying to stick to the point, they asked Harper if he had any enemies who might be involved. Harper responded:

"I don't know. Hmmm." He rang a bell. A harried looking bulky individual appeared at the door.
"Yes, Harper?" he said, sounding bored.
"Do I have any enemies, Harmon?"
"No, Harper."
"Well, I guess that settles that. You can go Harmon."
"Yes, Harper."

It went on like that. We learned nothing at all, and walked out to the main reception area.

Working there was Harmon. We spoke with him about our problem, and he turned out to be a totally reasonable guy. He said a Commune would cost the standard rate of 5000 gp, and Harper would cast it for us tomorrow, assuming he remembered to take it as a spell. There was a 1 in 3 chance.

We discussed crab hunting, and decided that we would join Harper since we really didn't have much else to do. We back to the inn to plan Commune questions, and the innkeeper Abram came in. He spoke briefly and said that although he was neutral had some suggestions for us. There are three people in town we can trust: Harper, who would never willingly betray us, Balmoro, and Martin, both of whom have a signficant interest in taking care of the "problem in Garroten." Although it is not Abram's fight, he told us who to watch:

Don't trust the gnome or dog trainer.

Later we spoke with Balmoro again, and he said he would only help us if we had a good plan for dealing with this, and that if the assassins were involved, we should return.

February 28th--We met Harper that morning, along with Harmon and Pingbo (some small human whose parents clearly didn't like him). Harper had no armor and carried little besides a spiffy hammer and a smile of joy. Harmon was decked out quite impressively and carried a flail.

Balinor, Felix, and Harper wandered down to the beach with Harmon, Pingbo, Cassian, Quentin, and Perry tailing behind. Harmon was apparently there to watch out for one of the OTHER bazillion dangers on Lendore, just in case. Cassian spoke with him a bit. Quentin looked annoyed that we were here to kill crabs for sport.

Balinor was grinning from ear to ear at the chance to smash some crabs. He got his chance when two leaped out at him and Harper. Harper yelled "Whee!" and did absolutely massive amounts of damage. Balinor dropped his in three straight hits. While Balinor was grabbed by one and took damage, the crabs just seemed to be deflected by something from Harper, who continued smashing them. Felix was less pleased, since his short sword was not as effective.

By the end of the day, we had killed a good-sized spider (which we left dead) and four or five crabs, whose legs were stowed in Pingbo's frame pack. We then had a delicious dinner and gave Osprem a 50 gp donation.

Incredibly, Harper had actually taken the Commune spell, and actually cast it for us. The results were astounding:

    Is the Baron of Restenford dead? YES.

    Is his body raisable? YES.

    Is the body in Garroten? YES.

    Is the Assassins' Guild responsible? YES.

    Is Abram having roast beef for dinner tomorrow? NO. (that was Harper--he had a 20% chance of doing that on any given question)

    Is there a group of bandits planning to attack Restenford? NO.

    Is a representative of the Duke of Kroten (Benct) responsible? NO.

    Is the body located north of the temple of Osprem in Garroten (this roughly split the map in half--binary search)? YES.

    Is the body in the castle of the Lord Mayor of Garroten?


Oh dear.

The Commune couldn't have been much more helpful than that. Basil, the shocked aide of Harper, and Harmon immediately conferred with us. It was universally decided that this was what we might term, a "mess."

Of course, the party left the church grumbling about the stupid waste of money that spell was. (ruse)

Quentin relayed everything to Martin the druid, who was quite alarmed. Martin's communication from Restenford stated that they would have some delays in putting together the money (we had left our tuning fork and dagger +1 as collateral). Apparently, the Baron didn't actually tell anyone how to get at the money-- so Peltar and Almax are chipping in!

There was a silly encounter with someone who believe is the town fool (confirmed by Abram). Some drunk ex-teamster named Presca was in the bushes nearby and stumbled out of them suddenly. We dismissed the incident.

We went to the theatre to talk to Balmoro. He said we had ten minutes, then he would as cover throw us out angrily and tell us never to come back. He revealed to us that the two flunkies of the guild that he knew were the gnome and dog trainer. The gnome apparently does not speak Gnomish, and is likely a midget posing as one. The dog trainer doesn't know much about dogs. Furthermore, we later learned that Captain Bazmar occasionally goes and ties colored ribbons on their doors, which doesn't bode well for him either. Balmoro pointed out that a huge gamble would be to ask the Lord Mayor for help, since we don't know if she was actually involved. Balmoro knows that the Lord Mayor does not object to assassins, but he was surprised that she would be helping them so overtly.

As planned he threw us out angrily, and we left. That night, Captain Bazmar once again related the story of some creature in Lake Farmin near Garroten, and how some POWERFUL ADVENTURERS (staring straight at us) should go and take it out. Vast treasure and all that. Considering last time out we had an evil artifact, we passed on the unsubtle hint. The party has decided that Captain Bazmar is simply incapable of being subtle, but he was trying to do so there.

March 1st-- Continuing a fine tradition, when the going got uncertain, we got Auguries. We purchased two pearls and made an appointment with the Lord Mayor. That way, just before the appointment we would cast two Auguries (in case of failure or incorrect answers), to see if it would be beneficial to speak with her on this matter.

The first augury: Disaster is unlikely to be averted.

Even if we got a contradictory response, I think it was quite clear we weren't going to attempt it, so we kept the second Augury and met with her instead to ask for some horses. In addition, when she asked what our business was, Quentin responded that we were just touring. This was of course a blatant lie and it is certain that she knows it is. Quentin's dislike of her is quite apparent. (She sent us to our death in the forest with the mad wizard Telvar's castle on our second adventure. Since then the Defenders have not been a big fan of her)

The Lord Mayor had two aides, one kind of more normal fighter type, and a cleric of Kord (identified later by Cassian). Disturbing, to say the least. Of course, so is the large statue to Kord in front of the castle.

Martin's communication of the day informed us that one of Peltar's students, a strong fighter we knew named Colemac, and two lower guards would be arriving with 4000 gp, both to pay for the Commune (as cover) and provide reinforcements for us.

Cassian spoke with some birds, and Quentin's animals scouted out the castle. There were a number of guard dogs, and absolutely no defenders on the northern towers, but 2-4 on the southern ones. The garrison is estimated at roughly 30 men, slightly lower level but more numerous Restenford's garrison. Several of them are orcs, who have good infravision.

Incredibly, Cassian's crow friend knew of a secret door that people occasionally went in and out of near the base of the back side of the castle.

It should be noted that while Garroten has a well-lit bridge as the only access from the Barnacus (south) side, there are zero defenses to the Restenford (north) side. This is because Garroten is likely acting as a fence for the bandits to the north, but not the ones to the south. The party's opinion of Garroten is headed Benct-ward.

The astrology of the day before was not good, (I can't remember specifically) but the signs were improving now.

March 2nd-- we went touring around town and met some of the local personalities, hoping to keep the assassins from suspecting our knowledge. We discovered the dour dwarf (picture Gilbert Gottfried) who ran the weapon shop, and was saying things like, "You never know when bandits will attack."

There was a beautiful, muscular, charming, but incredibly dangerous woman with a sword and a flowing dress, and a set of likely magical bracers running one of the shops. Her husband was also handsome and dashing. We were annoyed. Morgan was entranced.

There was a mean half-orc armorer who made pretty nice armor and was obviously wearing a suit of mithril chain around the shop.

Finally, the jeweler only worked through a tiny slit and peephole behind metal bars. I love Garroten. Trust all the way.

That night, Cassian and Perry checked out the secret door. Casting Detect Magic, then Silence (on a rock), Cassian walked to the bushes near the door out of infravision range and noted that the door was non-magical. Perry approached under cover of Silence and examined the door. It was untrapped, made out of wood, with absolutely no hatch to open it from this side. However, we think that Perry could explain to Felix how to use a crowbar to open it such that it could even be close again. The wood is compounded by some kind of earthern material on the other side, making it a reasonably heavy door.

March 3rd-- In the morning we purchased horses at exorbitant rates to replace the lost ones.

Showing up in town at lunchtime was the student of Peltar, a 4th level wizard. She noted that her most relevant spells were Sleep, Invisibility, and Stinking Cloud. Accompanying her was Colemac, a half elf named (?), and a human named Halco.

Colemac explained that there were now about 30 bandits out there. If we were going to leave town, perhaps Barnacus might be a better option. It is becoming increasingly clear the bandits were hired to stop us.

We discussed several plans. The mage wants to perform a surgical strike involving Invisibility and such, grab the body, and run. Colemac wants to find out who the assassins are, kill everyone in the castle while they're sleeping, and destroy the assassins' guild entirely in one blow. Ambitious, and not even lazy!

Plans are being concocted. I think most of the party has realized that we are not going to find every assassin no matter what, and having them escape with huge grudges against us is not good. Furthermore, the Lord Mayor is reputedly a powerful mage, and would be a major obstacle. A sweep of the castle would be devastating, but it isn't clear we have anywhere near the manpower to do it. Of course, this is not a universal opinion.

Other plan: surgical strike. Perry, Felix, and Morgan go inside invisible and with a rock of silence for Felix, and they go looking for the Baron and drag him out. Then we flee at top speed out the south exit toward Barnacus on horseback.

It is interesting to note that Martin assures us the three south bridge guards would be willing to aid us if they knew the Lord Mayor had done this crime. So getting past them shouldn't be a problem. The best way would be to have someone race ahead of the party and have them somehow "not be there" when we go past. If we're lucky, no one in Garroten will even figure out that anything happened until morning!

Another note: we know the Baron is in an unscryable area, which leaves two main options: 1) He is in a room with walls of stone ten feet thick, which blocks scrying. This means he is almost certainly in some sort of dungeon level on the bottom, probably fairly near the secret exit. Or 2) he is in a lead box, which is also unscryable. Unfortunately, then he could be anywhere including, say, the Lord Mayor's bedroom or something.

The last thing of note that Quentin will mention later (he has not yet told the party) is that there is a friend of Almax here, also willing to help, but trying to avoid discussion about him for now. He is very interested in taking down the guild.

Some notes on Raise Dead:

We have several possiblities once we have the Baron. We've pretty much decided on going to Barnacus rather than Restenford to avoid the bandits. Furthermore, that's where the Archbishop of Nevron is. Raise Dead works at one day per level of the caster, which is quite high in Barnacus (say 11th or 12th). So there we have a small margin of error. We would never make it to Restenford in time.

Lastly, we have a scroll of Raise Dead ourselves, which we learned was cast at 12th level! So that is extra insurance. If Balmoro has a way of contacting Barnacus ahead of us, we would really appreciate it if he could notify the Archbishop we're coming. This way he will definitely have Raise Dead in memory on that day. If this fails, and we don't have another day, he can use our scroll. Worst case: we don't even get to Barnacus in time. Desperation requires that Cassian attempt to cast the spell off of the scroll. This has a 25% chance of failure, but may be our only option.

The last question: why is the Baron still raisable anyway? What are they doing in there? Donald and other party members have suggested that either she's spirit wracking him or something, or is Speaking with Dead and discovering how to get at his treasure.

Well, that was FAR more successful than we could have imagined but the hard part is still to come. Stay tuned!



Log Entry XXIV: Where's the Baron?


It's the party that just loves assassins... The Restenford Defenders!


Felix, 4th level fighter, 42 hp, played by Alex
Drew, 4th level ranger, 34 hp, played by committee (under Jack's suggestions)
Balinor, 3rd level fighter, 33 hp, played by Joel
Cassian, 4th level cleric, 27 hp, played by Katherine
Morgan, 4th level fighter, 22 hp, played by Alan
Quentin, 5th level druid, 20 hp, played by Jeremy
Perry, 5th level thief, 16 hp, played by Sean
Donald, 1st level mage, 7 hp, NPC

Joining us were:

Martin, disgustingly high level ranger or woodsman, friend of Almax
Gristla, 4th level mage, student of Peltar
Colemac, mid-level fighter, guard of Restenford
Halco, half-elf woodsman
Prellis, human fighter


Quentin sent his birds to check out this "lovely adventuring spot" Bazmar kept hinting at (on the other side of the lake), but there was not in fact an ambush or anything there.

We began with a long but surprisingly relevant discussion about various plans, and pretty much settled on the GUTS plan.

GUTS (Guys Under Tactical Surveilance-- I made it up, so blame me) involved several stages. Morgan was turned invisible in the afternoon, and Perry spoke with Captain Bazmar while Gristla (Peltar's student) cast ESP and listened to Bazmar's surface thoughts.

Bazmar was rather unsubtle. His thoughts were that the Defenders were getting dangerous and inquiring about the assassins' guild, so something should be done about them pretty soon. He would have to speak with Sangster, one of patrol leaders of Garroten, about this. In the trees at midnight.


The plan: have an invisible Perry follow Bazmar to the meeting and see what he could learn. After Bazmar returned, kill him and the fake gnome and fake dog trainer, knocking out three assassins and the people watching us. This would allow us to reach the castle undetected. Halco the half-elf woodsman was also turned invisible.

Perry followed them to the copse of trees, and Bazmar said to Sangster the same thing the ESP picked up. In addition, he thought that they should start with "the halfling, then the druid. Then the warriors. The rest will be a mopping up action. We should probably start tomorrow."

Sangster replied, "The boss is coming back at noon tomorrow. All the plans need his approval. Sounds good, and I wouldn't worry about them."

In hindsight, when Sangster misses the call, he misses it BIG TIME.

About midnight, we crept toward Bazmar's room under cover of Cassian's _Silence_ spell. Perry picked the lock, and we moved in quickly. Unfortunately, there was a trap on the door, and a bolt was suddenly stuck in Felix... but it failed to penetrate his armor. In addition, a bell would have started ringing on the firing crossbow, had there not been a Silence in effect. Worse still, Bazmar was clearly awake and in a chair. However, we completely surprised him. Felix smacked him, and then Balinor finished him off, killing him instantly.

We moved quickly to the room housing the gnome and the dog trainer. There was a huge splash of white paint all over Felix as he entered the room, and they were awake as well. Irritated, Balinor helped the gnome's head cave in (less than -10 instantly), and Felix took down the dog trainer in two quick hits, preventing him from even drawing his broadsword.


We cleaned up the spill, apparently without anyone noticing. Then we left the inn and headed to the back entrance of the castle. Balmoro (the bard) had consented to watch the back entrance to see if anyone went inside while we were in there. In addition, we told him to keep an eye out to see who enters the town around noon-- that person is "the boss."

When we were ready, the earthen mound in front of us suddenly moved, and a dirt-encrusted man appeared out of the ground. Quentin introduced him as his friend, Martin. We had completely missed him before. Martin always mumbles and is incredibly soft-spoken, but VERY driven. "Wherever injustice and tyranny prevail..." the whole spiel.

We approached the entrance as planned, under cover of the light rain to mess up the guards' infravision (some of them are orcs). Another Silence spell was ticking. Felix tried to crowbar the door open, then suddenly noticed it was unlocked. Suspicious, we entered anyway.

We immediately descended down some stairs. At the bottom we are attacked on two separate occasions by a single ZOMBIE. Wow, this casual, oh yeah there's hideous undead in the basement, you'll need a cleric to get the wine, is really getting out of hand!

We passed down a corridor until we reached a door with a lever. Detect Magic revealed no magic, and Perry (with an Aid spell on him) was frequently listening and detecting traps throughout this place. We opened it and entered an alchemical lab with TONS of stuff in it. Nothing magical. We also discovered that of the stuff we had taken from Bazmar and the others, there was a magic amulet, dagger, and cape (or cloak?).

We continued through and ended up in a corridor with doors. We crowbarred the first door and opened it. A silent party sneaked in and knocked out the two sleeping people in the room. Clearly one of them was a cleric of Kord, and the other we suspected to be his mage lover.

The occupants neutralized (and tied and gagged), we made a quick search and found a set of keys. They opened several of the later doors, but not the really special next door. It was huge, iron bound, and had two nice locks. On two astounding rolls, Perry opened the door anyway, and we found a sheet-metal room. The floor was entirely magical, but that was all. There were five iron boxes about the size of a bed (5' long or so). All of them had two locks.

We hatched a clever plan. Felix drank half of the Flying Potion, and carried Perry into the room. Using the tuning fork (since the second Silence spell blocked the sound from leaving the room), we were able to open a signficant number of the locks. Between that and Felix's crowbar skill, we managed to open three of them. If I remember correctly, they all contained equipment of some kind (non-magical, right?).

We were unable to get the last two open, and so continued onward.

We opened a whole bunch of other doors. At the end of one hallway was standing a single bored-looking ogre. Martin surprised it and knocked it down, but not before it would have let off a yell. Noticing it didn't fall immediately, Morgan, who standing right behind it, gut stabbed it and finished the ogre off. In addition he caught the body and muffled the sound. Morgan became visible, unfortunately. That left Perry and Halco to scout ahead. In addition, the last Silence spell soon wore off.

We knocked out the apprentice of the Lord Mayor while she was sleeping (a "babe"), and a few moments later knocked out six people in a barracks of some sort. We tied them up in their beds, and tucked them in.

There were also two more people in a really scrubby looking area under the stairs. They were also taken out. That left 11 unconscious tied up people, and a dead ogre!

There were some empty cells, one with lots of rats. Quentin spoke with them, but they worry so much about the dogs that they don't venture into other areas of the castle. Apparently, "The dogs are vicious, and the big guy steps on us."

Having cleared the entire lower floor, we headed up some stairs and entered the main portion of the castle. We went through the kitchen, entryway (the main door is magical), and found a shrine to Kord. There were several magic things, but we avoided them, and found a secret passage in the back of the room. It led to what was probably the main cleric of Kord's bedroom. There were two HIGH magic lions in the room. We didn't enter.

Climbing up a ladder, we entered the room above. There was a door there, and Felix led the way. Then everything seemed to go wrong. A huge object swung through the door and partially hit Felix, doing some significant damage. In addition some bells rang on it, and some moderate amount of noise was made. Since there was no immediate reaction, we continued.

Upon moving inside, they found a room with two magical doors. In addition, one of the doors had a magical floor in front of it, and a magic dragon head to the side. Suspecting it's nature, Felix flew over the floor, and went for the door. Unfortunately, the dragon head turned to face him and breathed fire, doing some damage. Felix retreated.

Quentin and his Fire Protection tried again, this time walking over the floor. It seemed to Quentin that it took a bit longer for the head to react to him than Felix, but the result similar. In addition, the floor shot jets of flame at him. Quentin took some damage off of his Protection (20 points or so), but was fine. Unfortunately, he discovered that the door was locked.

Furthermore, the other door appeared to magically held.

We sent Perry and Halco down to check on the prisoners (we had moved them to the cells, the wizard and priest in a separate one). We left Halco down there so he could tell us if someone discovered them.

It appears our presence is STILL undetected. We searched almost all the rooms in the keep, and found no sign of the big three people we were looking for-- the cleric of Kord, the Lord Mayor, and Samster. Very odd.

(Gristla has one ESP spell to cast on someone, preferably Samster so we can find out who "the boss" is.)

Our suspicion is that either the Lord Mayor or perhaps the cleric IS "the boss." This would be quite bad. In addition, we think that the reason that secret door was unlocked was because they had left through it.

Hopefully they will return through that door, and we can nail them when they come back in. If the leader of the guild is really one of them, then they will not have much of an escort, if any, while sneaking in a back entrance.

An interesting problem we hadn't considered!

The plan now is take out the rest of the castle and prepare for whoever's arrival. This may involve knocking out the wall guards, then having Quentin shut the courtyard dogs up, then taking out the blockhouse. By our estimates, there should still be between ten and twenty people still here.

Well, that's where we stopped. So far, no casualties at all, almost no resources expended! We may pull this off really cleanly!



Log Supplement IX: A Story or Two


An additional comment, and a funny point:

I'm not too clear on who the second mage is-- I might be wrong about the first two people we caught. They were definitely the patrol leaders, and there were LOTS of Kordian symbols, but that's all I'm sure about.

Martin, Quentin's friend, is not to be confused with Quentin's OTHER friend, Martin. Martin with the party is a high level ranger/woodsman. The other Martin we met upon arriving in Garroten-- he's the local druid Quentin speaks with.

Finally, a little anecdote-- when we were checking out the room with the coffins and the magical floor, we had Drew track, but he didn't pick up anything. Martin said that there was someone with cheap shoes who came through about 5 or 6 hours earlier...



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All pages copyright Kyle Scott MacLea, 1994-2004, excepting works cited by others and artwork, which are copyright of the respective individual.